The second International Cricket Council (ICC) World Test Championship Final will take place in London from 7 June 2023. India will go toe-to-toe with Australia for a chance to clinch the second-ever WTC Final trophy.
Preparations are in top gear, but both teams have an issue with the final’s official ball. Rumors that the highest-ranked team will choose balls for this year’s final appear to be false. The ICC WTC Final host chose Dukes as their preferred ball for this year’s final much to the dismay of Australia and India.
Many cricket fans and players may not be satisfied with the ball, but little can be done right now. Let’s see other details about the official ball, lineups, and other vital details about the upcoming ICC WTC Final 2023.
Who Chose the Dukes Ball?
This year’s ICC WTC Final host, England, chose the Dukes Ball, according to ICC officials. The practice is in line with ICC regulations where host countries get to choose one of their balls for events.
“For all ICC events, the ICC uses the ball of choice of our host country so in this case, the ball for the WTC Final will be Dukes which is used in England.”
Dukes balls are common in England and are mostly used at county cricket matches.
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Is Anything Wrong with Dukes Balls?
Many cricketers complain that Dukes Balls are softer and can easily lose form during games. An example of the ball’s fragile nature occurred in a County Championship game involving Glamorgan and Durham. Nine (9) Dukes Balls were needed to finish the game and bowlers raised concerns about its trajectory.
British Cricket Balls Ltd. produces these balls and they claim to have no idea why they act differently in some games. However, Dukes have stronger seams than many other balls but may possess some design flaws exposed under stress.
What is India’s Stance after the Dukes Ball was Confirmed for WTC Final 2023?
India skipper Rohit Sharma spoke at a recent press conference about his team’s preparation for the WTC Final in June. He believes the best step to take will be to train fast bowlers beforehand with standard Dukes balls. Sharma also confirmed that the selected players will hold special training sessions with Dukes balls at their IPL franchises ahead of their final against Australia:
“We are sending some Duke balls to all fast bowlers and if they get some time to bowl with that but again it all depend on individuals. Guys who will be part of the final are not the guys who have not played in the UK and maybe one or two guys here and there and rest all of us have played in that part of the world. I don’t think it will be a huge problem. But yeah, look I believe in preparation and preparations will be key for us come the Final.“
India lost the first WTC Final against New Zealand. They will want to bounce back from that upset against the Kiwis when they face Australia later from early June.
Which Balls Were Preferred for the ICC WTC Final 2023 Instead of Dukes?
Players and coaches of both teams were expecting the ICC to approve Australia’s Kookaburra balls for this year’s final. The Kookaburra ball is machine-made and is a favoured choice among Australian cricketers. However, these balls tend to soften quickly and may not be superior to Dukes during stress or performance tests.
Confirmed Squad List for the Final
Barring any injuries or last-minute events, the squads to feature for both teams at this year’s WTC Final are out. See the lineups to face each other with Dukes balls at this year’s final below:
Rohit Sharma (Captain), Virat Kohli, Umesh Yadav, Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammad Shami, KS Bharat (wk), KL Rahul, Jaydev Unadkat, Cheteshwar Pujara, Axar Patel, Ajinkya Rahane.
Pat Cummins (Captain), Steve Smith (vc), Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Todd Murphy, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Renshaw, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Harris, Josh Inglis (wk), Josh Hazlewood, David Warner, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk).
Australia (18.42%) and India (14.28%) have poor Test match PCTs. Either team will likely blame Dukes if the result doesn’t go in their favour. Dukes may go into a new round of controversy after this final seeing the resistance from both teams after its selection. However, we hope for an entertaining cricket spectacle with two top ICC nations, no matter how the ball performs after the final innings.